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    “ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD” (Short Film Review)

    Plenty of short films are made every minute and many of them find their way to our mailbox.  Some are unwatchable, some are passable, some—the rare jewels—are fantastic. Navin Ramaswaran’s crackerjack micro-thriller ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD careens wildly into the fantastic arena, smashing against the world, destroying and bursting into a superlative display of bloody 4th of July fireworks. Yes indeed… this little flick is one of the good ones.

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    Mario Bava’s “KIDNAPPED”: Confined in the Open Country (Blu-ray Review)

    Kino’s ongoing transfer of the work of Mario Bava to Blu-ray presents not only a celebration of the Italian master’s filmography, but a way to gorge and gain perspective on a filmmaker that’s gone on to influence so much. I did as such last year, upon release of BLACK SUNDAY, HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON and LISA & THE DEVIL. Viewing all three, spread throughout Bava’s career, in a vaccum (with Tim Lucas’ informed commentary accompanying) shone light on the more personal flourishes in Bava films. Namely, that his homebody nature and reticence to leave Italy became a theme of confinement to history, legacy, supernatural fate or psychological trauma. So, what happened when Bava got out?

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    “APARTMENT 1303″ (Movie Review)

    For all save the tiniest minority of urban dwellers, compromises when it comes to securing decent living space are a fact of life; an intricate calculus weighing variables of location, price, relative state of decay, and security to see how close one can sneak up on the ideal.

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    “THE WORLD’S END” (Movie Review)

    Simply put: They’ve done it again. Just as they did with zombies in SHAUN OF THE DEAD and police action in HOT FUZZ, the Brit Pack of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost find lots of big laughs in the otherworldly invasion/apocalypse subgenre, while infusing THE WORLD’S END with brains and heart that help the humor stick.

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    “MARA” (DVD Review)

    There’s iciness to Scandinavian cinema that is hard to pin down, a certain class of emotional detachment that fascinates. This is especially true of the Swedes who, from Bergman on up, have long hooked us with silences and atmosphere rather than explicit shocks or attention-baiting sensory overload.

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    “DISCOPATH” (Fantasia Movie Review)

    Amidst a sea of films attempting to recapture the glories of bygone exploitation fare, DISCOPATH (a world premiere at the current Fantasia festival) gets it right—a swift, satisfying salute to the slasher cinema of the ’70s and early ’80s, with a premise it’s hard to believe no one employed back in the day.

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    “WILLOW CREEK” (Fantasia Movie Review)

    Considering that the Patterson-Gimlin film clip of a wandering Bigfoot is perhaps the most famous bit of amateur monster footage in history, it’s surprising that a modern vérité horror film hasn’t directly spun off from it until now. And just as surprising is that the man who has done so is Bobcat Goldthwait.

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    “HANDS OF THE RIPPER” (Blu-ray Review, Synapse Films)

    Before mulling over the merits of Synapse’s new HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) Blu-ray, let’s take a moment to applaud Synapse’s approach to their Hammer Films licence. Instead of launching with any of the beloved Lee/Cushing classics, Synapse have instead given their famously fastidious treatment to the dustier, more obscure titles from Hammer’s twilight days. For more casual fans of the studio like this reviewer, the chance to finally slap paws on these under-acknowledged titles allows a different perspective on the storied Hammer and its long legacy of blood.

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    “THE CAR” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Released amidst a slew of JAWS knock offs, THE CAR was completely dismissed in 1977, and not without reason. It is a pretty dumb movie. However, it’s also a gloriously dumb movie and that’s the sort of thing that cults are built on. The movie may not have achieved the revival status of Steven Spielberg’s similar motor-monster-movie DUEL or even 70s car chase relic VANISHING POINT, but it’s certainly developed a base of followers. Guillermo del Toro even had a perfect replica of the titular evil vehicle built to drive around Los Angeles as a one man movie homage and he’s far from the only one with fond memories of discovering the flick in drive ins, on worn down VHS tapes, or late night cable screenings. There’s an undeniable charm to Elliot Silverstein’s ridiculous exploitation movie. While it’s not the most obvious choice for a pristine new Arrow Blu-ray, THE CAR is a fun addition to their ever-growing line up of oddball genre releases and one in need of a wider audience of those special folks with a sweet tooth for cheese.

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